Tired of the ‘OB Pause’? New Button Allows Instant Airplane Noise Complaint

by on September 5, 2018 · 17 comments

in Ocean Beach

Screen grab from SanDiego7

Residents of Ocean Beach know about the “OB Pause” – or the “Point Loma pause”. People who live under the flightpath of the San Diego International Airport (no longer called Lindbergh Field) know to stop all conversation when planes fly overhead.

Now, however, there’s a new invention called AirNoise which can give those tired or sickened or bothered by the noise from jets to file a noise complaint with just a click of a button, and it goes directly to the San Diego Airport Authority. The button can be carried in your pocket, purse or on a keychain.

When a user clicks AirNoise’s button, the system starts looking for nearby airplanes in a cylinder around and above the user. When the button locates an airplane close enough it will then grab all the information about that plane and send it off to the Airport Authority.

The inventor of AirNoise is Chris McCann who lives in La Jolla. He told NBC7 airplane noise is getting worse:

“It actually causes the windows of our house to rumble if it’s really low, which we never had before. Those airplanes actually have woken me up from a sound sleep before. It’s very loud and since it’s coming towards us it just gets louder and louder.”

Created last year, San Diego users have already sent more than 120,000 complaints in using the the button, McCann says.

We’ve seen about 6,000 to 8,000 come through on a non-airport authority app, and we respond to as many as staff can – approximately 80 to 100 a month.”

From the AirNoise website:

About Airnoise.io

What does Airnoise.io do?

Airnoise makes it easy for anyone to quickly file aircraft noise complaints with the local airport authority. Instead of trying to figure out what airport a particularly noisy airplane is heading to or from, trying to understand where and how to file a noise complaint, and then spending the time to do it, just tell Airnoise you want to file a complaint and we take care of the rest.

When you tell Airnoise that you’re bothered by aircraft noise, it finds the aircraft closest to you and then files a detailed noise complaint directly with the local airport authority. Airnoise does all the hard work so you can get back to the things that matter most to you.
How does Airnoise.io work? When you sign-up for an account you provide your address so we can pinpoint your location relative to the air traffic near you. When you kickoff the complaint process, Airnoise uses publicly-available ADS-B data to search for aircraft near you.

Not all aircraft broadcast the ADS-B signal, but most commercial and business aircraft do, so we can find the aircraft nearest to you well over 95% of the time. Some small general aviation airplanes and helicopters are equipped with ADS-B, but the FAA requires that all aircraft flying in the US be equipped by January 2020. We also use other publicly-available data sources to try to locate aircraft near you if the ADS-B system doesn’t find anything.

Why use Airnoise.io instead of the local airport authority web site?

Have you tried filing a noise complaint with an “official” site? Most of them are cumbersome and time-consuming to use and require you to fill out a web page and all the details of the disturbance every single time. Many enforce a 15- to 30-minute delay between an aircraft flying over your house and when you can file a noise complaint against it.

Some sites actually store your information so you don’t have to re-enter it every time, but you still have to login and provide some information about what bothered you.

We don’t put you through that — just click the button, send a text, or tap the icon on the web site and you’re done. We’re also going to release iOS and Android apps soon to make it even easier.

Does it cost anything to use Airnoise.io?

You can sign-up for free and start filing noise complaints immediately to help make your voice heard over the roar and help your community seek some relief. You can file up to 15 complaints each month with a free account.

But if you live under one of the new NextGen flight paths and the noise is really impacting your peace and quiet, you should consider subscribing to an unlimited, paid account and also getting an Airnoise button. You can file a complaint in one second with the button, and it will last for at least 2,400 clicks.

All paid Airnoise accounts come with a free 30-day trial so you can try the service to see if it works for you. You can cancel your account at any time.

Many folks have told us they find it therapeutic to be able to click the Airnoise button to instantly send a complaint to the airport authority and get right back to the things that matter to them. They say the time and sanity savings is well worth the nominal $5 each month.

According to NBC7:

McCann says the FAA’s NextGen program is to blame for the increase in complaints. The program has modernized air routes to create tighter flight tracks that sometimes go above homes that didn’t see this problem before.

The FAA released a statement saying in part: “The agency tries to address noise impacts by designing procedures over water and industrial areas when safety and efficiency permit. However, options in and around major metropolitan areas are often limited due to the complex and highly congested airspace, with numerous routes serving multiple airports that are in close proximity to one another.”

The FAA also says its NextGen program decreases travel time, lowers aircraft operating costs and increases safety.

AirNosie is not the only tool you can use to file a complaint – the San Diego International Airport released its own app.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve O SanDiego September 5, 2018 at 9:45 am

I only got one paragraph into this story until a plane then few overhead. Gotta love the timing.


Frank Gormlie September 5, 2018 at 9:53 am

Steve O – How about doing a monthly column for the OB Rag, mi amigo? Contact me : obragblog@gmail.com


Vern September 5, 2018 at 10:38 am

Seems that the Airport Authority, Ms Knack, had requested that those bothered by the low, loud planes go outside and take a picture of the offending planes or at least try to get a physical description of the plane (ie., color, carrie, plane #, etc) and send all that info in along withe their noise report(s).

Aren’t the aborted landings up by 400% or some crazy number like that?

And with the “new” terminal (#1), there may be some talk about relaxing the curfew. Should get pretty loud here in OB/PL… blecchhh!

Modern times in San Diego.


retired botanist September 5, 2018 at 10:50 am

Bah, if only that button could REMOVE the noise… what I’m not reading is that this efficient little button is actually going to make any difference to the airport’s response to complaints. Having submitted dozens of complaints -the old,laborious way- in the past, there was always an excuse…mechanically justified, outgoing instead of incoming, older plane w/ larger engine, holiday time period, bad weather…. all excuses to do nothing about it. So what’s changed here other than a “clever”, supposedly efficient, unnecessary “app” to divert everyone’s attention from the actual problem, and hoodwink folks into thinking their complaint is somehow ‘better recorded”? Ridiculous.
And the Airport’s noise committee? A disgrace of ineptitude- they’ve been meeting for years and accomplish absolutely nothing other than logging the # of complaints and offending carriers, and then chucking out a 2K fine every once in awhile. Meanwhile, less than a third of affected residents ever benefited from the free windows program, and the audio and physical pollution continue to increase every year, allegedly offset by new routes and smaller engines…


Vern September 5, 2018 at 1:59 pm



ZZ September 5, 2018 at 8:10 pm

“and then chucking out a 2K fine every once in awhile”

Here is an article about the fines. They are usually more than 2k, and in most cases the excuse to get out of the fine appears to be rejected:


“and the audio and physical pollution continue to increase every year”

I don’t know about that, SAN has been at full capacity for a long time with its single runway. However, as older louder airplanes get phased out, the noise should be slowly decreasing.

“A new Boeing 787 has approximately one-tenth the noise “signature” on departure as a Boeing 727-200, yet it carries more than twice the number of passengers. Because aircraft have operating lives of 20 or more years, it takes decades for airline fleets to catch up to the latest and quietest technology. ”

“Stage 2 aircraft include aircraft models such as the B737-200, B727, and DC-9 aircraft. Stage 2 aircraft have been phased out of the United States’ commercial air carrier fleet as of January 1, 2000. “


Patrick September 6, 2018 at 12:01 am

They may be getting quieter but the volume of aircraft is increasing-there are more aircraft flying in more directions. 2 go arounds directly over my roof today and I’m at the top of Pt Loma so 1200 feet above my head +/- and they’re accelerating so spewing maximum pollution. Projected airport operations of 800k in the next 3 years or so at an airport with a single runway means I’m under a new flight path by virtue of that many more “missed approaches/go arounds”


Vern September 6, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the relaxation of the existing curfew.

Both the FAA and Airlines hate curfews and if they can get the curfew relaxed or eliminated it’s going to happen in the next few years.


retired botanist September 6, 2018 at 6:05 am

Points noted, ZZ, but what percentage of those flights that actually violate either the decibel level, the altitude threshold or the curfew are actually issued fines- I would say likely a very, very small percentage. And fines are tiered- first offense a drop in the bucket, and even the 3rd offense- let’s just say perhaps 20k instead of 2- what percentage of their daily profit do you think that is? Would it not be cheaper to pay the fine than put up a couple hundred people overnight in a hotel b/c the curfew would be exceeded?
So, while these airline fleets take decades to be brought kicking and screaming to new regulations, we just keep pressing that little button….


Vern September 6, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Keep reporting! Keep pressing the “button”!


Vern September 6, 2018 at 12:05 pm

“Quieter” planes, and more of them, flying lower over homes and schools, still = more noise, more often.
As Terminal One will inevitably get it $33 billion “reface”, expect the existing curfew to be relaxed and a near-24/7 flow of commercial jets 1500 feet over head.


Eric September 5, 2018 at 1:19 pm

ATT had a web app “Mark the Spot” much like this device to complain when you had garbage service. Ended up it was just a palliative button. Made you feel good while you were doing something proactive and it shuts you up which is the point of the app. I apologize for the cynicism.


Amber September 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Maybe they can add a second function – pause Netflix as well. This way, we won’t miss any of the important dialogue that is always perfectly timed with the aircrafts overhead.


John O. September 6, 2018 at 10:18 am

Agreed, the plane noise is pretty bad. Especially in the warm months when you need to have your windows open. Btw, does anybody notice how much soot accumulates as well?
Maybe suing for health concerns and air quality is a better tack to take.
But really, what is the point of this button? Isn’t it assumed that the noise is a problem for people that live under the flight path? That will never change. Sort of the reason that gentrification was slow in OB, right?
The possibility of moving the airport has long passed. And reporting, making planes quieter, changing paths, etc. are all just band-aids.
I love OB. I don’t miss the planes (now in North County).


Vern September 6, 2018 at 12:11 pm

The planes are loud, getting louder .

Much lower, subsequently much louder, over homes, schools and churches in OB/PL.


Marion Mahn August 15, 2019 at 3:26 pm

I live in Bergen County, Nj – 30 miles out of Newark Liberty – I have no idea why they call it liberty – it has enslaved us here through airplane noise ! We built our house in 74 – no plane in sight – and now with NextGen under way, we get a plane over us every minute at altitudes sometimes below 3.000 ft. Conversation outside is impossible . Roundtable discussions with the FAA and Port Authority came to zilch. The planes keep coming. I send out complaints every day -sometimes as many as ten or more. They start at 7:30 and are still flying over us at 12:30 at night. Is there a button I can use for Newark ? I would like to get my anger out that way instead of having to either fill in the complaint form or yell at them over the phone – – Marion


Vern August 16, 2019 at 8:33 am

Marion, check with the folks at https://airnoise.io/
I believe they’re doing buttons and the app for many municipalities now.
Yes, NextGen is a big problem.


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